A tool helping San Antonians track roadblocks in their neighborhood
SAN ANTONIO - Construction sat seemingly untouched for months on San Antonio’s West Side.
We received a call from a viewer, Michelle, asking why that was the case. Her commute often takes her from I-35 down Laredo, yet she now has to take another route out of the way to get around it.
There are multiple closures all around this area that cover multiple roads and coves in the neighborhood. Like many drivers, she often has to take several detours to get to her destination cutting time out of her day. When the construction end date continued to get moved back, she sent us an email saying, “They just updated the electronic sign to say the construction has been pushed even further back to […]. Then, at Laredo and Zarzamora, the street is completely closed still.It's been about a year that it's been blocked off for no reason[...]. This is so unacceptable.”
Problem Solver started making calls to get her answers. We learned from San Antonio Water System’s Anne Hayden that it was a sewer project and why it kept getting delayed.
“The initial contractor that we hired was running several months late," Hayden said. "We found difficulties in the work that he had done. And, we gave him an opportunity to fix those problems that wasn't done to our satisfaction, so we terminated the contract.”
And, then there was another delay.
“So, then the state requires us to rebid anytime we do a new contract," Hayden said. "So, we rebid, selected a new contractor […]. The bidding process took four to five months.”
When Fox San Antonio’s cameras went out the next morning after talking with SAWS, the construction crews were already back at work.
"I want to acknowledge it's really frustrating to have barricades up and not be able to follow your usual route to work, school or wherever you need to go," Hayden said.
Perhaps most importantly,she pointed us to a tool that can help countless drivers across San Antonio. She showed us this website, which takes you to a map of all 43 sewer projects across the city and 11 that are on the way. There you just have to enter your location. We typed in Michelle's area near Zarzamora and Laredo that takes users to projects happening in that area. You can then click on the project to find out specifics like how long the project will last and what it will involve.
In addition arranging community meetings and sending out postcards to residents in affected areas, when the construction finishes, Hayden said SAWS will address pot holes and trench collapses explaining,
“That's a big focus on what we're doing is going back in making sure that they're filled and that the street will be safe again for people to drive through," Hayden said.
When all was said and done, we received this response from Michelle.
"Thank you so much for helping everyone in the community," she said.
Hayden also encouraged residents across San Antonio to be aware that construction can often be spearheaded by various utilities and outlets like the state, Bexar County, CPS Energy, etc. and not always by SAWS.
And for SAWS projects that aren’t sewer related, she said the organization is working on more tech friendly tools to help San Antonio residents stay informed on what’s happening in their neighborhood.
f you find yourself in a neighborhood with a SAWS sewer project, Hayden also encouraged viewers to look for signs at the project that often update some project information and showcase a phone number to call for information.